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by: RITA A. LEONARD - Stephen Cutler has painted his canoe with images of native Pacific Northwest artistry. It often can be seen near S.E. 52nd and Steele in Woodstock.Pacific Northwest Native Art is distinctive in its colors, images, and style.

Woodstock resident Stephen Cutler, who explores the Willamette River around Ross Island, has painted his canoe in a similar style, celebrating the unique Native Art that he admires.

The moss-green canoe that he paddles quietly around the nearby island in the Willamette River blends in well with the wildlife habitat. “There's so much to see down there,” he muses; “Beaver, river otters, deer, and eagles.” To honor the wildlife that has sustained this area for generations, Cutler painted pictures of an orca, lizard, raven, and other Pacific Northwest tribal images, all over the outside of his canoe. When the craft is secured atop his truck, the display is a cultural reminder of the First People who settled the land. Cutler recently began painting other Tlingit/Haida images on the seats of his canoe, and he plans to add more figures later on as he develops them. The traditional colors of black, white, muted turquoise, and red are most often seen on Pacific Northwest totem poles, artwork, and ceremonial items.

The Portland Art Museum has an impressive collection of native Pacific Northwest artistry, but Cutler’s canoe designs serve as an Inner Southeast reminder of the distinct images that once greeted the first European settlers to the area. You can often catch a glimpse of his canoe atop his truck near S.E. Steele and 52nd Avenue.

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